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Bond reduction requested in carjacking case

Friday, August 27, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A Spencer man who has been charged in connection with an alleged carjacking and has been in jail since Aug. 9 was in Putnam County Circuit Court Thursday to request a bond reduction.

Brandon L. Elwood, 24, is charged with Class B felony carjacking, Class D felonies resisting law enforcement, battery by bodily waste, auto theft and theft, Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle with at least .15 grams of alcohol in .210 liters of breath, Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief and Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated. At his initial hearing on Aug. 9, he pled not guilty to all charges and Judge Matthew Headley set his bond at $40,000 with 10 percent allowed.

Elwood's court-appointed attorney, Joel Wieneke, told Headley that his client's wife, Brittany Elwood, was a full-time student and a stay-at-home mother to the couple's two children, ages 2 and 6.

Elwood said his wife was in desperate need of help at home, and that he had always been the one who supported the family financially.

"I've got a job waiting on me if I get released soon," Elwood said.

Elwood's criminal history includes convictions for domestic battery and public intoxication. He had also faced charges of resisting arrest and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor.

"The state objects to a bond reduction," Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said. "Mr. Elwood has a lengthy history of alcohol-related offenses."

Wieneke said Elwood's wife also wanted to get a job, but was unable to do so while her husband was incarcerated. He said Elwood's wife was also looking into alcohol treatment programs for her husband.

Headley said he would take the bond reduction request under advisement, and would issue a decision "in the near future."

"I need to think about this," he said. "These are serious allegations."

If Elwood were to post bond, he would be required to hook up to electronic home monitoring through Putnam County Community Corrections.

The charges against Elwood stem from an Aug. 7 incident that allegedly took place in the Stardust Hills subdivision in Cloverdale.

Court records said police were dispatched to the Stardust area to check on a report of criminal mischief after Putnam County Dispatch received a call about a vehicle that had struck several mailboxes.

Witnesses gave a description of the man who was driving that car, a silver Lincoln, and added he had also been beating on the door of a home in the subdivision. Shortly after, a call came in saying a carjacking had occurred on Burma Road.

The alleged victim of the carjacking said he had seen a silver Lincoln in the ditch on C.R. 100E, and that when he stopped to help the driver of the Lincoln had grabbed the alleged victim's cell phone, punched him in the testicles and took off with his car.

The description the alleged carjacking victim gave of his assailant matched the description witnessed had given of the man who had struck the mailboxes in Stardust Hills, court records said.

As officers were taking information from the alleged carjacking victim, dispatch advised they had received a phone call from the Cloverdale Marathon station advising a man wearing shorts, no shirt and who was "covered in tattoos was at the station acting odd."

The attendant at the station also said the man was driving a red Nissan, which matched the description of the alleged carjacking victim's vehicle, and that he had left traveling westbound.

An officer spotted the vehicle and attempted to stop it on U.S. 231. Officers pursued the vehicle, which ended up crashing near the intersection of U.S. 231 and Stardust Road.

"The driver fled on foot and was tazed and taken into custody," court records said.

The driver was determined to be Elwood.

If convicted on all charges, Elwood could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.

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